Families from Hell - page 4

I know that when people are in the hospital everyone is stressed out including the families; but man I can't stand when the families do all the talking for the patient, jump down my throat like a... Read More

  1. by   LibertyBellPN
    What drives me wild is the families (and even "friends") who occasionally call the floor to see how their loved one is doing..
    These are the people who never visit, and I get the impression that their 'phone call absolves them of any guilt they might have...(and haven't they ever heard of HIPPA?)

    Being the burnt out witch that I am, I resent them for calling--always at a bad time--that damn phone!---and I do actually remind them, nicely, that our visiting hours are VERY flexible if they'd like to come in and see for themselves how the person is doing...they usually hang up quickly.

    I just hate that 'phone. It rings constantly and how am I supposed to do my job if I am always answering the phone!!
  2. by   Diahni
    Quote from LibertyBellPN
    What drives me wild is the families (and even "friends") who occasionally call the floor to see how their loved one is doing..
    These are the people who never visit, and I get the impression that their 'phone call absolves them of any guilt they might have...(and haven't they ever heard of HIPPA?)

    Being the burnt out witch that I am, I resent them for calling--always at a bad time--that damn phone!---and I do actually remind them, nicely, that our visiting hours are VERY flexible if they'd like to come in and see for themselves how the person is doing...they usually hang up quickly.

    I just hate that 'phone. It rings constantly and how am
    I supposed to do my job if I am always answering the phone!!
    How annoying! This is one more issue that hospital administration should have a "policy" to take care of - having to deal with phone calls isn't part of your job description! I worked in a hospital where all incoming calls about a patient's status went to a specific person whose job it was to do this. If you're not on the list of names given by the patient, forget about it! I think you hit it on the head - many calls are made by people who really don't want to see the person. No, it's not like responding to an "R.S.V.P" to visit! Don't most hospitals have direct access phones in the patient's rooms these days? If so, maybe you can give this number to callers, then hang up! This is one more grey area of nursing that requires the skill of a psychiatrist and the patience of a saint! My mother wouldn't discuss her condition with her kids, so we depended on doctors and nurses to let us know what was going on. HIPPA aside, can't anybody walk into a hospital room? This is even worse than calls!
    Diahni
  3. by   EDNewbie
    Quote from janhetherington
    I can think of very few times that a patient really got on my nerves or upset me; they are sick and we are not. But the families get worse every year. The attitude was spelled out very clearly when I had a pair of sons come in once and watch me like a hawk. One said to me, "You are here because you are supposed to be taking care of our mother and we are here to make sure that you do." Why does it have to be so adversarial? This is one of the reasons that lazy nurses (there are a few) make me so angry. How can any nurse have time to be passing around personal photos and reading the newspaper these days?! It takes just one of these to convince a family member that we are the enemy, not their best allies. :angryfire But I often wonder how these family members would feel if they had to endure this sort of situation at their own jobs. If they are restaurant cooks, would they want the cousins of a customer going into the kitchen and critiquing how they prepare the meal? Or if they are teachers would they put up with all the parents in the classroom most of the day, telling them how to teach and threatening to call the principal and the board of education if it's not done exactly how the parents want it? Or if they cut hair for a living, how would they handle having all of Dad's children and their spouses show up and demand to be served coffee and have all of their questions about Dad's haircut answered? If only we had visiting hours back, it would be such a relief. We could get some of the patient care done without constant aggravation and the patients could get some much-needed rest.
    :YES!:
    I was thinking the same thing the other day- it seems like more and more family members are just rude or plain obnoxious! In one shift, I had several different family members question me and the other nurses, "well, you haven't done this, what about that.. blah blah blah" so I finally said to one "All the nurses here are highly educated professionals and we know what we're doing so why don't you just let us do it." I really wanted to say KISS my *** we're not servants or waitresses!
    I have had to leave pt's rooms so I my smart mouth won't get me in trouble:angryfire:angryfire
  4. by   NJNursing
    I had some nasty family members a couple weeks ago of a pt who was transferred to us from ICU after they signed the DNR. It was 11pm and there were like 8 family members in the room and being quite loud and disturbing. We allow 1-2 family member to spend the night on certain circumstances. When I diplomatically went in to give them the hint, one family member got snotty saying that the hospice representative (not employed by the hospital, but an outside contractor) told them that they could have as many people as they wanted and that the doctor said their family member wouldn't live out the night. I had told them about hospital policy (and besides, the pt was VERY stable). I told them they could talk to my director about it in the AM and the one said "well we don't plan on being his this morning, she's going to die tonight." They had even planned the funeral for 5 days later. Needless to say she lived another week and were baffled at how the doctor and hospice representative could have steered them so wrong. :icon_roll They had asked me in the morning why her BP was going up and why her O2 was remaining stable. I told them that people have their own wills to live sometimes and that it could be any matter of days if not weeks. They totally were not into that explanation. *sigh*
  5. by   NJNursing
    I didn't want the above post to be overy long, so i created a new post about a different family. The pt was on our floor for a broken hip. She had a hx of ovarian CA with mets to the brain. They had done an MRI earlier this week and it showed a 4.5x4.5 large metastatic tumor in the brain with INTERNAL NECROSIS. The family immediately called the Cancer Institute to get this poor, frail 74 year old back on radiation. I wanted to shake these people for their selfishness. It's necrotic. There's no reversal of that no matter how many rounds of radiation/chemo they do. It'll buy her time, but not a better quality of life. She's already only oriented x 1-2, so it's frustrating to know that this poor woman is going to needlessly suffer with this. They've also got her trained to be hooked on the narcs. Everytime someone walks in the room they or the pt asks if we've got pain meds (even if we've medicated her 5 minutes prior!) I'm glad I'm off the next couple of days because I couldn't take another day of them.
  6. by   EmmaG
    Quote from NJNursing
    They've also got her trained to be hooked on the narcs.
    No such animal.

    Everytime someone walks in the room they or the pt asks if we've got pain meds (even if we've medicated her 5 minutes prior!)
    Sounds like the docs need to address her pain issues.
  7. by   Diahni
    Quote from janhetherington
    I can think of very few times that a patient really got on my nerves or upset me; they are sick and we are not. But the families get worse every year. The attitude was spelled out very clearly when I had a pair of sons come in once and watch me like a hawk. One said to me, "You are here because you are supposed to be taking care of our mother and we are here to make sure that you do." Why does it have to be so adversarial? This is one of the reasons that lazy nurses (there are a few) make me so angry. How can any nurse have time to be passing around personal photos and reading the newspaper these days?! It takes just one of these to convince a family member that we are the enemy, not their best allies. :angryfire But I often wonder how these family members would feel if they had to endure this sort of situation at their own jobs. If they are restaurant cooks, would they want the cousins of a customer going into the kitchen and critiquing how they prepare the meal? Or if they are teachers would they put up with all the parents in the classroom most of the day, telling them how to teach and threatening to call the principal and the board of education if it's not done exactly how the parents want it? Or if they cut hair for a living, how would they handle having all of Dad's children and their spouses show up and demand to be served coffee and have all of their questions about Dad's haircut answered? If only we had visiting hours back, it would be such a relief. We could get some of the patient care done without constant aggravation and the patients could get some much-needed rest.
    Jan: I think Midwesterners are very polite people! Lucky you.
    Diahni
  8. by   holly2009
    I work in an Out patient Endoscopy Center. We have a doctor who is excellent, but he is constantly late and behind schedule. Guess who hears all the complaints and gets treated badly? Me. the Pre-Op Nurse. I have gotten to where I say, "I understand. I would be hungry and bored and anxious too. Please let the doctor know how you feel." Do they? nooooooo. WHen he rushes in and says "Sorry for the delay" they ALWAYS say "Oh thats ok, doctor." Grrrrrrrrrrr
  9. by   jbp0529
    I work in the ICU. Regarding annoying/demanding families...

    we have a little passive-aggressive technique that we sometimes use, in which we remove the visitor's chairs from the pt's room (when family is not present or steps out, obviously). We find its pretty helpful in encouraging them to not stay too long and get comfortable :spin:
  10. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from jbp0529
    i work in the icu. regarding annoying/demanding families...

    we have a little passive-aggressive technique that we sometimes use, in which we remove the visitor's chairs from the pt's room (when family is not present or steps out, obviously). we find its pretty helpful in encouraging them to not stay too long and get comfortable :spin:
    that only works if everyone is on the same page. i've tried that and the secretary just brings them more chairs, even offering them mine! lots of nurses offer their own chairs to the family, but at 52 and after back surgery working full time to save up the pto and the money for a knee replacement, i'm not giving them my chair, even if they are old and frail. they can go sit in the waiting room when they get tired; i have to be there!
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    timely thread, this. we have a patient in the icu who has been here for the past three weeks. his son is a physician who lives about an hour away and rarely visits, and his wife never leaves the hospital. we believe she has some form of dementia, a short term memory deficit and some health problems. she stays in the patient's room most of the day, wearing the same ankle-lenth quilted down coat buttoned up to her chin all the time. if you ask her to leave, for whatever reason, she goes out to stand by the elevator and cry and wail. some visitors called security on her because she was sitting on the floor rocking and shrieking "i have to get to xyz hospital because my husband is there," over and over and over. (she was at xyz hospital.) security took her away for a short while, but she was back before morning.

    some of our charge nurses, who felt sorry for her, were letting her sleep in an empty patient bed. that wasn't the best idea, but when other patients started complaining that they woke up and found her hovering over their beds, sobbing and staring at them, the surgeons (not management) put a stop to staying overnight in the icu. now she sleeps in the 24 hour cafeteria, or so i'm told. her son came to get her once, but left without her. so the poor lady lives at the hospital and doesn't really seem to have a clue what's going on.

    i think we ought to take her to the er for mental status changes and let them admit her and work her up. but i'm in the minority . . . .

    meanwhile, nurses are feeding her, giving her money and blankets and letting her wander around our enormous hospital.
  12. by   Dental Hygienist
    Quote from momsabeach
    I work in an Out patient Endoscopy Center. We have a doctor who is excellent, but he is constantly late and behind schedule. Guess who hears all the complaints and gets treated badly? Me. the Pre-Op Nurse. I have gotten to where I say, "I understand. I would be hungry and bored and anxious too. Please let the doctor know how you feel." Do they? nooooooo. WHen he rushes in and says "Sorry for the delay" they ALWAYS say "Oh thats ok, doctor." Grrrrrrrrrrr
    Ha Ha! That happens in dental too! If the dentist makes them wait forever for an exam or whatever; they'll whine and moan and give me a hard time, but as soon as the dentist comes in and says: "Sorry for the wait" it's "Oh, that's OK doc" Brother....it's this kind of behavior that makes the doctors think we're exaggerating when we complain about patient's attitudes.

    Question: Are families allowed to assist in any way? Such as, could the family be allowed to bring the patient water or coffee or assist them to the bathroom or whatever little tasks need doing? I'm just putting myself in the position of the family and thinking that if I had some "chores" I'd be a lot more useful and a lot less annoying and I'd feel better about my time spent in the hospital. What is the policy on these kinds of things?
  13. by   psalm
    Quote from ruby vee
    timely thread, this. we have a patient in the icu who has been here for the past three weeks. his son is a physician who lives about an hour away and rarely visits, and his wife never leaves the hospital. we believe she has some form of dementia, a short term memory deficit and some health problems. she stays in the patient's room most of the day, wearing the same ankle-lenth quilted down coat buttoned up to her chin all the time. if you ask her to leave, for whatever reason, she goes out to stand by the elevator and cry and wail. some visitors called security on her because she was sitting on the floor rocking and shrieking "i have to get to xyz hospital because my husband is there," over and over and over. (she was at xyz hospital.) security took her away for a short while, but she was back before morning.

    some of our charge nurses, who felt sorry for her, were letting her sleep in an empty patient bed. that wasn't the best idea, but when other patients started complaining that they woke up and found her hovering over their beds, sobbing and staring at them, the surgeons (not management) put a stop to staying overnight in the icu. now she sleeps in the 24 hour cafeteria, or so i'm told. her son came to get her once, but left without her. so the poor lady lives at the hospital and doesn't really seem to have a clue what's going on.

    i think we ought to take her to the er for mental status changes and let them admit her and work her up. but i'm in the minority . . . .

    meanwhile, nurses are feeding her, giving her money and blankets and letting her wander around our enormous hospital.

    talk about neglect and emotional abuse by the son!! call social services and see what can be done. god bless the nurses who are lending a hand, but we shouldn't enable this son to neglect his mom in the quise of her wanting to be with her husband. i am with you...she needs a workup. hugs to all the staff who are advocating for this poor soul.

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